Nadia Finer, a powerhouse business coach, wickedly funny international speaker and author of LITTLE ME BIG BUSINESS is here to help you UNLEASH THE BIGNESS IN YOUR BUSINESS. Don’t be fooled by Nadia’s sweet appearance and adorable voice. Nadia is feisty and fearless. Rather than hide behind her insecurities, she has turned her little voice into her secret weapon and used it to build a unique personal brand. She now helps struggling business owners all over the world to embrace who they really are, work smart and scale up. No more playing small. No more limitations on what you can achieve. It’s time to kick fear in the face and turn your tiny profits into big bucks!
I came across your story about your voice. I’d love for you to share your story about how you changed this painful moment into a podcast and your work around being able to speak your voice.
Nadia has a ‘little voice’ and it became apparent as a teenager that as she got older, her voice didn’t. The moment she discovered that she had a little voice, it was a turning point in her life. She was 15 and learning French in her school’s language lab. She’d record herself speaking and then listen to the playback. When she heard her voice it sounded like a tiny child was speaking what she just said. Then it dawned on her that the voice was hers. She decided that she was never going to ring someone on the phone who she didn’t know, speak on a stage or appear in a video.
Did you tell anyone that you had this experience where you thought you were weird?
She didn’t tell anyone. It was just a decision that she made and kept to herself. Now looking back on it, this response feels bizarre.
It sounds like you had an insight. That what your voice sounded like did not match what was around you.
She now realizes that her voice is not something she can possibly hide. On a daily basis, someone makes a comment about it. As you get older, the disconnect between how you sound and you age gets greater and people are more inclined to comment on it.
Did you have friends and family comment on your voice when you were a teenager?
She didn’t really experience this. When people get to know her and get used to her, they don’t really notice the voice anymore. As a professional, she did find it held her back at work. Managers would make comments about gravitas and she would have to do certain things to be taken more seriously. Various employers sent her on elocution lessons which didn’t change the way her voice sounded.
What were you doing for work?
She started off working in an accountancy firm and then worked in marketing and consultancy for various companies. One boss said to a client ‘She sounds really young, she’s got a really little voice but she’s got a really big brain.”
How did that feel?
It was pretty embarrassing for that to be said in front of a client. Later, she quit her job and started a variety of small businesses. The voice held her back. She would create a brand and then hide behind it. On her websites there would be very little of Nadia. Her about page would have a single sentence to explain who she was. She would undervalue herself and go low price.
I think people have this experience, even if their experience with their voice isn’t like yours. I think people can relate to what you’re saying.
It’s not about the pitch of your voice or the volume, it’s about how you feel speaking freely, the things that you say and how you show up in the world. And when you’re an entrepreneur and you are your business, it pushes buttons. People feel exposed in a way they didn’t when they were employed. Having a job you go to work, do some stuff and get paid. At no point do you say ‘Oh I doubt myself, I, therefore, can’t do it.’
For a number of years, she was comparing herself to everyone else and hiding. She was not really showing up and doing work on a tiny scale. Then she started a new business, a PR service and did the ultimate thing to hide – bring someone into her business to hide behind. Which now sounds ridiculous. After a rocky time working with this person, they accused her of ‘playing small’. She hadn’t heard that phrase before and at that moment she found her inner strength and fired her. That moment changed everything.
When did you make the connection that this moment when you were 15 impacted so many of your decisions?
After she closed that business, she was in a state of crisis. She did a lot of soul-searching and thinking. She decided to concentrate on the coaching side of things and was struggling to work out how she would fit into the marketplace. She didn’t know how to exist in amongst people who had a very ‘show-off’ attitude. A friend told her to be herself. And at first, she was averse to the idea. But once she decided to embrace her voice, everything changed.
And how long did that take you?
It was a few weeks of knowing it was the thing to do and then thinking it wasn’t possible. Out of nowhere, the idea came into her head of Little Voice Big Business and at the moment decided that was going to become her brand. She considered what the scariest thing she could do with her little voice was, and that was when she came up with the idea of the podcast.
When you are yourself and embrace the thing that is you, that holds the secret to everything, that makes you unforgettable and that makes you stand out from everybody else – good things happen. She likes that she show’s people that you don’t to be flash and ballsy to be successful in business. You just need to be yourself and it’s okay to do it in a quiet way.
I typically think that that thing which is our treasure, we are afraid of it.
Nadia thinks it’s a fear of standing out, of being judged and a fear of exposing yourself and the things that you struggle with. She also thinks that it has to be authentic. She sees lots of people trying to be themselves but struggling because they are being a sanitized version of themselves, which doesn’t work either.
How do you recommend people discover their treasure?
Unfortunately theirs no magic formula. It involves a bit of thinking. She now works with people to help them discover what it is. She believes it is possible for everybody and hasn’t found somebody who didn’t have something interesting or unique about them.
It’s amazing how challenging it can be to uncover some of those layers that prevent us from seeing our treasure. It really takes getting to know yourself and facing your fear at the same time.
Sometimes the treasure isn’t fear based. She’s currently working with a hypnotherapist who is really into rock music, which isn’t fear based. It doesn’t always have to be about insecurities.
You mentioned before we started recording that you’re a boxer. I said we have to talk about that on the podcast.
For Nadia, it’s the least expected thing she could be doing and pushes her beyond what she ever thought would be possible for her both physically and mentally. She’s a middle-aged mom and has become part of a combat gym, trains every day and has just done her 3rd fight. Which she won. It has become this whole other side to her which she is loving and has discovered a strength and fierceness within her that she didn’t know was there.
Wow! Punching people in the face. I don’t know if I could do that?
Nadia felt like that too. But when your opponent punches you in the face, you hit back. She feels so much stronger now and realizes that it’s important to invest in yourself. As a mom, you end up picking underpants up off the floor and making dinner for everyone. It’s so much easier to do all that when you have an outlet and time for yourself doing something physical.
Even when not boxing, it can feel like people are “punching us in the face” all day long. How can we deal with it?
There are so many lessons from boxing. The concept of ‘embracing impact’ is one of them. When you are in a fight situation and someone is punching you, the idea is you block the shots. It’s all about not panicking when that is happening and embracing the impact. The key is not to panic and wait for your opportunity to strike back. It’s a great analogy for business. There are so many lessons from the ring that you can apply to business.
In boxing, no boxer would ever go into the ring without a team in the corner. No boxer would ever train without a coach. You just can’t do it by yourself. Yet in business, we expect to mange on our own as if we’re superhuman.
How do you prepare your mind for a fight?
Nadia was nervous for about 2 weeks before her latest fight. On the day she had a feeling of nervousness in her chest, hands, and toes. She tries to quiet those negative voices and tells herself that she’s done this before, she’s trained hard and she knows what to do. She was scared that 800 people would be watching the fight. She told herself that most of them are not watching her, they’re chatting and those that are, are supporting her. She tries to surround herself with people who have been there and done it and can give advice and encouragement. Just before a fight she will put her hood up, have headphones on and listen to music.
Is there a song that you listen to that prepares you?
Her walkout song this time was Linkin Park – In The End. She listens to that song a lot during training as in helps her out of being mum Nadia and into the right state to be a fighter. It’s amazing the power of music.
Even if we feel little, or afraid or we doubt ourselves, it’s not a permanent state. It’s not something you have to live with forever.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
When she’s having a moment and doesn’t think she can do something in the ring, her boxing trainer says – “Stop being a knobhead.” And somehow that helps her get a grip and get on with it.
Tell us how we can get in touch with you and learn more about what you do